Sustainability made simple

How to Clean Brass Jewelry the Eco-Friendly Way

how to clean brass jewelry
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Peggy_Marco

Learn how to clean brass jewelry in a few simple steps without any harsh chemicals or toxins. You probably have everything you need in the kitchen cupboards already.

Brass is made from an alloy of copper and zinc. The beautiful metal has been used to make jewelry for centuries and is much less expensive than gold. It is strong, durable, and resists corrosion well. Like any metal though, it can dull over time. Learning how to clean your brass jewelry will bring back the dazzle and shine to your favorite pieces.

If your jewelry only needs a little help back to its former glory, simply try washing it with warm water and castile soap. Dry with a clean towel and enjoy a little sparkle in your life. If this basic method doesn’t bring the shimmer back, try one of our more advanced methods instead.

Make sure your brass jewelry is not merely brass-plated or lacquered, as this outer shell will deteriorate more quickly than unfinished solid brass. Just use a the natural soapy water method if your pieces are not solid, unlacquered brass.

How To Clean Brass Jewelry: 4 Ways

Learn how to clean brass jewelry naturally.
Learn how to clean brass jewelry naturally. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Pezibear)

1. Lemon Juice 

  • Place jewelry in a bowl of lemon juice for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Dry and shine with a clean towel.

2. Ketchup 

  • Cover the jewelry in ketchup or tomato paste and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Dry and shine with a clean towel.

3. Salt & Vinegar 

  • Heat half a cup of vinegar and one tablespoon of salt (Do not allow the mixture to reach a boil).
  • Soak jewelry until the mixture cools.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Dry and shine with a clean towel.

4. Salt & Vinegar Paste

  • Mix one teaspoon of salt and half a cup of vinegar.
  • Add flour gradually as the salt dissolves until you form a paste.
  • Cover your jewelry in the paste and leave for 15-30 minutes.
  • Rinse under warm water.
  • Dry and shine with a clean towel.

Tip: Use a soft toothbrush or nailbrush with your chosen mixture to scrub for a few minutes for added effect if your jewelry is heavily tarnished.

Things to Keep in Mind When Cleaning Brass

Cleaning brass jewelry naturally is easy and effective.
Cleaning brass jewelry naturally is easy and effective. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / weinstock)

Unfortunately, unfinished brass jewelry does tarnish as it ages. Over time, it loses its sparkle and may form a greenish tone on the outer layer called patina. This layer is caused by oxidation (or rusting) of the copper content of the brass. Fear not! Cleaning and maintaining your brass jewelry will delay this process.

Like all metals, brass does not tolerate prolonged exposure to water very well. Not only does it increase the speed of oxidation, but the zinc content can also leak out over time. Try not to wear your jewelry in the shower or swimming and always keep your precious metals away from damp areas and humidity. There are many ways to reduce the humidity in your house. Learning how to clean air naturally will also reduce your jewelry’s exposure to circulating harsh chemicals and delay the oxidation process.

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